Namajunas believes she injured her right pinkie finger in the first minute of the fight, and four months later, it’s still a bit crooked.
“I went through a sprint-step right hand,” she said Wednesday on The MMA Hour. “But my glove was a little wide.My hand probably was a little loose, too, and my pinky just caught right on her forearm. It just jammed my pinky, and I knew instantly something was wrong.”
Namajunas fought through the pain, even making it worse by punching with her right hand, and switched to a southpaw stance, where she began to find her rhythm before running out of time. Judges all scored the bout for Fiorot, who is now scheduled for a high-stakes showdown with Erin Blanchfield.
“It was funny, because like, by the end of the fight, in the third round, I switched lefty and I started finding my left hand, and I was dropping her,” Namajunas said. “I was like, ‘Oh, man, I wish we had two more rounds.’”
Namajunas is now scheduled to headline a March 30 Fight Night event against Amanda Ribas, continuing on her mission to capture another UFC title at 125 pounds. She opted against surgery despite a jarring reaction from a UFC doctors who examined her hand on two occasions.
“It was crazy because … right after the fight, they set it back in place, and then they basically just said, I think it was, like, six weeks in a splint or whatever. But then it wasn’t until like a month later that I went to see [UFC flyweight] JJ Aldridge fight, and then the doctor was like, ‘Oh, that looks terrible. You’re going to need surgery on that.’
“I got all stressed out about it, and then I ended up seeing a hand specialist, and they said that I didn’t need surgery. The only thing that surgery would really do is just make it a little more straight.”
The problem with that, she added, was that she might not be able to make a fist with her right hand. That was a non-starter.
“As long as I can make a fist, and I can grab with it, and it’s strong … the doc said it’s nothing that you could make stronger. So it’s just like, you just got a little crooked finger. But it’s all all good, which is what I thought in the first place.”
Namajunas said she babies her injury to avoid making it worse but doesn’t expect it to have any long-term effects on her career. She’s still in the hunt for the flyweight title despite the setback.
“I mean, it’s a little stiff sometimes,” she said. “When I first started back to sparring and whatnot with the MMA gloves, it was definitely something that I was thinking about, making sure I’m placing my hand in the right spot, not hitting elbows or anything. But at this point, I don’t even think about it.”